Jessica Korda Wins in Australia

I’ve written about this before, but on the golf course, you never give up. Never. You just don’t know that’s going to happen next. Jessica Korda stayed with it and won a major tournament (at least I think it is) on a difficult golf course.

Paula Creamer won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2010 at Oakmont. This, to me, is different from winning the same tournament on a course you’ve never heard of. Now Korda can always regard winning the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne, one of the world’s classic golf courses, as a major achievement in her career.

I watched the taped broadcast from the start on Sunday morning, but there was something odd that I couldn’t explain. With two hours of air time available, we opened with the leaders on #15. We should have been picking them up at #10. Little did I know what was coming.

Korda was playing well at -5, poised to cruise in for the win. But three straight bogeys on #14-16 dropped her to -2, two shots back of the leaders at -4, with two holes to go. Right here is where you decide whether you want to win or lose. She birdied the par-5 seventeenth to go one back. Then standing in the eighteenth fairway, she saw co-leaders So Yeon Ru and Hee Kyung Seo miss short par putts to fall back to -3.

You can’t count on getting a birdie on #18, but Korda tried and missed a long but makable birdie try to tie with the disappointed duo ahead of her. Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, and Julieta Granada had all finished at -3, too, so we had a 6-way tie for first and a playoff.

Joining Ru and Seo in the race for Most Disappointed Player had to be Lincicome, who had a three-footer on the first playoff hole for the win, but the Royal Melbourne greens being what they are, that’s not a gimmee. The announcer said the putt would break slightly right to left. Lincicome must not have seen that, because the ball broke just that way, hit the rim, circled the cup, and stayed out.

We could also mention the disappointed Stacey Lewis, who, at -7 on Friday, drove off fourteen into the primeval rough that lines Royal Melbourne fairways, had to take an unplayable lie, and ended up with a triple bogey. She had two rounds to recover those strokes, but you don’t get to do that on this course.

Yani Tseng? She finished two back in regulation, despite getting bitten twice, carding a quad on Friday and a triple Sunday morning. Good players don’t make those kinds of scores, but they do here.

Long story short, the playoff consisted of playing #18, a 398-yard par 4, as many times as it took to get a winner. All six players parred the first time, through, but you have to figure that when the hole gets played twelve times by golfers of this caliber a birdie has to crop up somewhere. So indeed, the second time through, Korda canned a 25-footer for the win.

Again. Never give up. You have to keep hitting your shots, because that makes the other players have to keep hitting theirs, too, and you never know.

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